Since the abortionist George Tiller was shot and killed in his church in 2009, his former clinic has remained empty – until now.
Julie Burkhart, the founder and executive director of Trust Women (and former co-worker of George Tiller), has been working for some time to open a new abortion clinic in the same building she worked in years ago under Tiller. Her efforts were brought to fruition when the new clinic – South Wind Women’s Center – opened on April 3.
Like many abortion clinics, this new clinic advertises that it will provide comprehensive health care services for women, but it focuses on abortion. They will provide abortions up to 14 weeks’ gestation, and refer women seeking abortions past that point. The clinic will function with three medical providers, including one abortionist who has tried to keep her identity ultra-private. In the video below, which aired a couple months ago, her face was obscured and her voice altered.
This new abortionist wishes to remain anonymous as long as possible, keeping her identity “off of the record of crazy people with guns.” She hasn’t told her family and friends about her decision to start working in an abortion clinic after working as an OB/GYN for years. Now identified as 31-year-old Cheryl Chastine, she felt called to change the scope of her work and is now dedicated to working at South Wind.
Chastine currently works as an OB/GYN in the Chicago area; she received her license to perform medicine in Kansas on January 17 this year. She will fly to Kansas on a regular basis to perform abortions at South Wind. However, the clinic is bound to run into many issues, since Kansas law requires that medical facilities be owned by licensed professionals. Burkhart, who has no medical training, owns this clinic.
Kansas has been at the heart of the abortion battle for years, especially with everything that happened in 2009 with the murder of George Tiller. Many laws have been enacted since the horror of Tiller’s later-term abortion practice was revealed, including the following restrictions:
- A woman must confirm that she accessed state-created informed consent materials and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.
- Abortion is covered in private insurance policies only in cases of life endangerment.
- Health plans that will be offered in the state’s health exchange that will be established under the federal health care reform law can cover abortion only when the woman’s life is endangered.
- Abortion is covered in insurance policies for public employees only in cases of life endangerment.
- The parents of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided.
- Public funding is available through Medicade for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.
- A woman must be given the option to view the an image of her child if an ultrasound is performed prior to an abortion procedure.
- An abortion may be performed at or after 20 weeks post-fertilization only if the woman’s life is endangered or if her physical health is severely compromised.
The battle at South Wind has surely only just begun. Operation Rescue has revealed many legal concerns with the clinic already, which are bound to multiply. Stay tuned as this story continues to develop!
Correction: A previous version of this article improperly credited a quote to Cheryl Chastine.